10.06 — 23.07.2022
David Zwirner, 108 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris 75003
An exhibition of new work at David Zwirner’s Paris location.
Extending a decades-long interrogation of images, these works call attention to the history of painting and the medium’s inherent emphasis on illusion as an analogue for the growing sociopolitical dissolution of Western society, heightening the disjuncture between seeing and knowing.
Among the most vibrantly colored works in Tuymans’s oeuvre to date, the painting Eternity (2021), from which the exhibition takes its name, features a spherical form that presents as a luminous field of pure color akin to the compositions of Mark Rothko or Kenneth Noland. However, the dome’s imperfect, pocked surface suggests a real-world referent, in this case the glass dome made by Werner Heisenberg in his laboratory to model hydrogen bomb explosions. A pioneering theoretical physicist, Heisenberg led the German effort to produce atomic weapons during World War II, though it remains unclear whether he helped or hindered this cause.
Tuymans has frequently referenced traumatic history in his work; however, the subject of such paintings is not these atrocities themselves but rather the way in which they are integrated into the historical narrative, as well as into collective memory, through images that have the potential to be indeterminate, multivalent, and ultimately revealing of an underlying glimpse of humanity, here literally foregrounding beauty in destruction.